Blog : graduate

Nurturing the next generation

Nurturing the next generation

This week I sat in on an interview with our client The Robertson Trust and three beneficiaries of its Scholarship Trust bursary. I was inspired by the young adults who were just starting their careers. They had drive and determination to succeed and I don’t doubt we will see them at the boardroom tables of major companies in the future.

The Robertson Trust’s scholarship programme has been running since 1992 and since then has been helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds realise their full potential, by providing financial assistance through its bursary scheme.

Equally as important is the on-going support the Trust gives the students. Part of this is helping them find internships. For the three students I met this week, an internship has led to full-time permanent jobs in their chosen profession.
Director of The Robertson Trust, Kenneth Ferguson, talked to me about the need for more companies to take on interns. He explained that it provides a huge opportunity for the individual, but also allows the organisation to train and nurture a new employee from the early stages of their career, creating a loyal, hard-working team member.

Stripe’s graduate recruitment programme, Stars and Stripes, has been running since 2009 and has been hugely successful with more than a third of our current team now made up of graduate trainees. We also have regular paid internships throughout the year and we work closely with universities to engage with the most suitable candidates. We invest heavily in training our graduates because we want them to be the best they can be, but we also want to deliver brilliant work for our clients and that means ensuring our team are committed and fluent in the skills required for the job.

But it’s not just about the skills, a young intern, fresh from University or College can bring infectious energy and buzz to an office. They bring a different perspective to client activity and drawing on their current life experiences can help make or break a campaign.

Technology means that in many ways, Generation Z have it easy, but actually life has never been tougher for young adults and that’s especially true when it comes to finding a job. Employers have a responsibility to develop the next generation for the benefit of both their business and society. What better way to do this than investing in an intern and therefore investing in the future.

In honour of freshers’ week: My dear graduate self…

In honour of freshers’ week: My dear graduate self…

It seems a bit ridiculous, considering I just graduated over a year ago, to be passing on life advice to future and recent grads. That being said, a year is a long time and I personally think that in your twenties you are thrown an abundance of life experience – mostly because you’ve done something wrong! But at the ripe old age of 24, here are five pieces of guidance I want to pass on my fellow and future graduates.

  1. Relax
  2. Learn
  3. Challenge
  4. Listen
  5. Positivity

So to start with, RELAX. Okay so student life is stereotyped to be the laziest time of your life, but clearly whoever thinks that has not been up for three days straight being haunted by the terrifying dissertation and the imminent failure that you believe is coming. After graduation you feel you can shake it off and go on to your next hugely amazing life step – but that doesn’t always happen. If things haven’t gone the way you envisioned after graduation, it’s okay. Your dream job could actually be your nightmare, you could end up only making the tea throughout your internship – that’s fine. Take what you can from these experiences and move forward. Everything will eventually fall into place. After graduation I worked almost two years in retail, throughout which I attended various interviews and undertook several internships in a variety of fields, to finally land on my feet at Stripe.

Next, you need to learn. Yes, university might be over but the learning just keeps coming! When you’re out in the scary adult world there isn’t anyone to give you the answers, you need to keep asking questions in order to learn. If you didn’t get that job, ask why. If you did get that job, ask why. Focus on your positive attributes and learn from your negatives.

Always have your game face on. If you’re not ready for the challenge, who’s going to bother challenging you? Go into every opportunity with ambition and enthusiasm, and don’t be afraid to challenge systems and present your own ideas.

Know when to listen. Being eager and inquisitive will get you so far, but remember that sometimes the answers are already there, you just need to take some time to sit back and absorb the information around you. Be observant of those around you, body language can sometimes give away more than words ever will.

Finally, stay positive. I am an eternal optimist. I do believe, at the end of the day, everything will fall into place and it will be fine. However, this is hard. Sometimes it can look like your life isn’t going anywhere or you’re being thrown problems you can’t deal with, but you can handle it. Life will only throw you what you can take, and if that means a taking a big breath and working that bit harder, then so be it. So graduates of the now and the future, give yourself a slap on the back – we’re doing alright.

One month in…

One month in…

Attending photo shoots, organising event openings, liaising with clients and colleagues alike, contributing ideas to management in team meetings and panic buying BBQ kits from B&Q – my first month at Stripe has been a whirlwind!

There is no typical day at Stripe, and the above are only a handful of the things I have been tasked with during my first six weeks of a three month placement as a Stars and Stripes graduate.

My fear for when I finished University was that I would be resigned to sitting at a desk repeating the same duties day in day out. Or worse still my duties would only extend to making the office tea and coffee. However from the moment I stepped into the Stripe office on my first day I knew that this wasn’t going to be an everyday “9-5” office job.

Starting a new job is never easy, and I have to admit that I was extremely nervous on that first Monday. As a recent Media graduate, I had never worked for a communications agency before and had very little understanding of what my job would entail.

In my role, I’ve been allocated five exciting accounts, each presenting its own unique workload. I have learnt first-hand what different businesses want their products and services to say about them – and the importance of getting it right. First-hand experience trumps text book learning any day!

The office environment at Stripe is fast-paced and lively. There is always a deadline to meet, creative brainstorming sessions to attend and media mail outs to prepare (bubble wrap has become my best friend at times!)

Stripe actively encourages its staff to contribute their individual thoughts and opinions and there is never a dull moment. This keeps me on my toes which makes my role so exciting. In the short time I have been at Stripe, I have learnt how important it is to use my initiative but equally how important it is to ask for help when needed.

As you might have gathered, working for a busy comms agency can be a bit overwhelming at times but without challenges, a job can become boring and where’s the excitement in that?!